As President Bio Launches One Stop Centres...
Gender Ministry Poised To Prevent Sexual And Gender Based Violence
By: Juliana Vandy:
Strategic Communications Unit,
Ministry of Information and Communications
His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio has officially launched SGBV (Sexual and Gender Based Violence) One Stop Centres across the country.
The virtual event took place on Monday, 9th July 2020.
Making her opening statement, the Hon. Minister of Gender and Children’s Affairs, Madam Manty Tarawally, recalled that President Bio declared a State of Emergency on Rape in February 2019 followed in October of that same year by a review and subsequent strengthening of the Sexual Offences Act.
As a newly established ministry which came into being in December 2019, she said they are focussing on four key priorities as follows: preventing sexual and gender based violence, strengthening the sexual and gender based violence mechanism, economically empowering women, and strengthening child protection mechanism.
Minister Tarawally added that the ministry also prioritizes the creation of committees to coordinate and support each priority, noting that these committees consist of people from MDAs, donors, private partners, activists within the landscape of prioritized areas, to ensure that they reduce duplication, maximize resources and enable greater impact.
She stated that her ministry’s primary focus is to prevent sexual and gender based violence which will be done by putting structures in place to deal with the horrendous acts that happen.
That is why, according to her, the ministry introduced a 24-hour free rape hot line on April 16 2020, which has been taking more than three hundred calls a day, ranging from complaints of domestic violence to rape.
The minister announced that her ministry would officially launch the pilot phase of One Stop Centres in six districts across the country, housed in government referral hospitals in Moyamba, Kailahun, Pujehun, Kabala, Port Loko, and the King Hermman Road Government Referral Hospital.
Madam Tarawally maintained that these centers will provide psycho- social couselling, victim’s statement review by a Para-legal, medical treatment and safe homes.
The aim, she said, is to ensure that victims no longer go to police stations to report cases of sexual and gender based violence, and also to improve on current confidentiality standards and enhance victims' support.